India Moving Towards Unprecedented Glory

It is an honour for any nation to be considered the best in the world. India has gradually yet firmly reached the pinnacle of success on the plinth of economic growth. In the emerging world order, India is the new power for global change. Transforming its image of a predominantly poor developing country perched on the lower rungs of political and economic ladders, it has of late written a new destiny and a dynamic new future for itself. The world powers have conceded that India has the potential to shape the international order. In the words of Narendra Modi himself, “India’s rise is a story of Rare Resilience, Renewed Resurgence, Superb Speed and Spectacular Scale”

The emerging new economic status of India in Asia and at the global level has helped it assume a new powerful self-image, which in turn has bestowed on it a leading political and economic responsibility. Modi believes, “Once we decide we have to do something, we can go miles ahead.”

The transformation came when Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of India. It would not be an exaggeration to give complete credit of India’s unprecedented world position as a political and economic power to Narendra Modi. All Indian achievements trickle down to all achievements of Narendra Modi.

Modi became the 15th Prime Minister of India on 26th May 2014. He created history as Heads of all SAARC countries attended for the first time the swearing-in of an Indian Prime Minister. He is a man of action, and doesn’t wait for the right time for initiating things.

He envisions India as a unified and a great nation, and thus he has been continuously working towards fulfilling the dream of making “Ek Bharat Sreshtha Bharat”. The glory India has achieved is unprecedented in the modern era. Modi believes in creating ties for mutual growth rather than moving ahead alone. He invokes the world thus, “Unity is not important for economic progress alone. Peace, unity and harmony are useful in family, life, society and for the nation. And to all those who believe in Vasudhaive Kutumbakam, the whole world is one.”

“Narendra Modi is the reflection of the dynamism and potential of India’s rise. He recognizes that a billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world,” said Barack Obama. He further adds, “Narendra Modi has laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls, and unleash India’s true economic potential while confronting climate change. Like India, he transcends the ancient and the modern – a devotee of yoga who connects with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagines a digital India.”

Modi has come a long way from being denied visa to the US when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat to creating a friendship with Barack Obama. Modi made his first visit to the US to attend the UN Summit on Sustainable Development Goals in New York. Obama called him a Man of Action, and agreed to be the first US President to come to India as the Chief Guest of 66th Republic Day celebrations.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has created an image of himself as an international icon representing India. No Prime Minister had done that before. The world has suddenly started to notice India as a “Bright Spot” partly because of the limelight Modi has created on the world stage. Within a span of two years, India has made an indelible impression on the world economy under the guiding force of Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of the country. In the words of Ram Vilas Paswan, the current Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, “Compared to the last ten years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised India’s honour at the international level in just two years.”

Modi’s Strategic Approach

Modi worked on a two-pronged global strategy:
• To establish himself as a world political leader and raise India’s stature abroad, and
• To establish himself domestically as the best political, economic and social leader to date. Inviting all SAARC leaders to his swearingin ceremony – even Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif was a great diplomatic move, which proves his sharp long-term foresight. It was the first proof that he is a smart statesman who could create in one stroke, a positive and approachable image of himself and the nation before regional Asian and global leaders.

Winning Hearts at Home Modi’s unparalleled charisma led to BJP winning with an absolute majority, and it gave new hope to the citizens in a time of despair. Gradually, people have developed a renewed faith in the government and governance under Modi’s rule. Since his becoming the Prime Minister, he has launched innumerable initiatives for the growth and development of the country and the people. Some significant initiatives are Atal Pension Yojana for the unorganized sector; Jan Aushadhi Yojana for retail sale of generic drugs; Kisan Vikas Patra for farmers; Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana for funds for the girl child; Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana or DAY for helping poor through skill training; Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana for the eradication of female foeticide and education of girls, etc. The most impactful initiatives that helped India create a positive image before the world are as follows:

Aadhaar: Though this ambitious scheme was started by the previous UPA government, under Modi’s government, its real benefits are being realized. It is the base for Modi government’s several growth schemes. Cleaning Ganga: The Ganges is not only a symbol of purity and religion in India, which gives an additional impetus to its cleaning, but it also represent a large part of our ecosystem geographically and demographically.

Jan Dhan Yojana: With a goal of inclusive growth, Jan Dhan Yojana allowed anyone to open a bank account. Within two weeks, the scheme made its entry into the Guiness Book of World Records for the maximum number of accounts opened in a week.

LPG Subsidy: This is a popular initiative against poverty. Modi personally urged people to voluntarily give up their LPG subsidy. Consequently, five lakh new LPG connections were created and distributed to poor households that were still using firewoods or kerosene stoves for cooking.

Mann Ki Baat: Modi regularly makes a direct contact with millions of Indians at home and abroad through his signature address to the people of nation on radio and TV sharing and receiving ideas for the growth and development of India.

Swachh Bharat Mission: This is another popular mission started by Modi. It urges everyone to clean his/her locality, and the government contributes by building toilets and managing waste. Yoga Day: United Nations declared June 21 as International Yoga Day after India’s lobbying. Modi himself performed yoga at Rajpath and popularized it within and without India.

Digital India: Encouraging local talent stay in India & explore its destiny, while attracting talent that had left India seeking better opportunities. GST Bill: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) is the biggest indirect tax reform in the history of India since 1990. GST will ensure a complete, comprehensive and continuous mechanism of tax credits. Make in India: Modi has projected India as the next engine of growth by creating a domestic manufacturing hub. FDI is being eased, labour laws are being revamped and red tapism is being eliminated.

Skill India Mission: This mission aims to train over 40 crore (400 million) people in India in different skills by 2022. National Skill Development Mission, National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) and the Skill Loan scheme are part of this mission.

Smart City Plan: 100 smart cities are being developed in India with a mission of urban renewal where these will be made citizen-friendly and sustainable.

Startup India: This campaign involves promoting bank financing for start-up ventures so entrepreneurship and employment could be encouraged and improved in the country.

Winning Hearts Abroad

The foreign policy of Narendra Modi (also called Modi Doctrine) is focused on creating strong economic ties in the entire South Asia with proactive, strong and sensitive approach. Gradually yet firmly, he has expanded his vision to South-East Asia, and all major economies of the world. While his foreign policy has been strong with selective neighbours such as China and Pakistan, he has mostly focused on establishing trade deals with all countries rather than concentrating on confrontational issues. His approach is completely positive and he likes to turn issues into opportunities.

As of September 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made 54 foreign trips in six continents highlighting his foreign policy of improving economic relations with all significant economies in the world. The following are selective snapshots of India’s journey towards being a bright spot in the global economy under Modi’s enviable leadership: Afghanistan: Modi not only unveiled a new Parliament building in Afghanistan – for which the Indian government had provided funds, but also made it clear that India is ready to go the extra mile in creating good diplomatic and business relations.

Bangladesh: Though the India- Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement had been signed in 1974 itself, this was a historic moment for India and Bangladesh as the Agreement was ratified by India after 40 years.

China: Prompting China to benefit from the winds of change in India, Modi promised China better business opportunities with a more transparent, responsive and stable government, and both sides signed deals worth $22 billion.

France: Modi made the impressive Rafale fighter jet deal with France in a government-to-government agreement.

Germany: Modi and Angela Merkel agreed on stronger educational exchanges and collaborations between their universities, efforts towards urban development and a free trade agreement between the European Union and India.

Iran: In his maiden visit to Iran, Modi focused on connectivity, trade, investment and energy partnership. The most notable agreement was the Trilateral Agreement on Chabahar Port.

Russia: While meeting with Vladimir Putin, Modi stressed on deeper engagements with Russia, especially in oil and coal sectors in addition to diamond trade and agro-business.

Saudi Arabia: Both countries agreed to move beyond just basic trading and made agreements on joint ventures and investments in oil refineries.

Singapore: India made agreements with the Singapore government on clean and renewable energy from solar, nuclear, wind and biomass in its effort to reduce dependence on coal.

South Korea: India boosted bilateral ties with South Korea by making seven agreements on avoidance of double taxation and better dialogue between their respective National Security Councils.

United Kingdom: 27 agreements were made between India and the UK including technology transfer in defence, fight against terrorism, cyber security and tackling online child pornography.

United Arab Emirates: Modi’s visit to the UAE was special and it ended with several positive agreements on terror, trade and steps to benefit the blue-collared Indian expatriate community.

International Summits and Policies

Modi has revived or renewed foreign policy initiatives. A quick glance at a few of them.

Act East Policy: India has a special place for ASEAN and other East Asian countries. Modi has upgraded the Look East Policy to Act East Policy, to get results from the 25-year-old economic engagements of PV Narasimha Rao government.

G20 Summit: In his efforts against black money and towards the base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) action plan of the G20/OECD to modernise international tax rules, Modi was successful in getting the G20 nations add an important clause in the final Leaders’ Communiqué making it difficult for tax havens to give complete tax exemption to companies.

Neighbourhood First Policy: It is being hailed as one of the most significant initiatives of Narendra Modi. Believing that a strong SAARC will help all its members grow politically and economically, Modi has consistently worked towards strengthening regional cooperation and developmental activities in the SAARC region.

United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, New York: Modi addressed the United Nations General Assembly and urged for increased cooperation in the fight against climate change and elimination of poverty.

West Asia Policy: Calling the Middle East – West Asia, Modi created a policy of Link West Policy, in which India has put special emphasis on Gulf countries as they supply two-third of India’s total oil import.

World Hindi Secretariat (WHS): Modi laid the foundation stone of WHS in Mauritius in 2015. WHS would promote Hindi as an international language and India is trying to get 129 votes at the United Nations to make Hindi an official language of the UN.

Conquering the World

India’s overall global stature has risen just like its economic position in the world. The entire world is looking at it to take a leadership position in economic matters.

The move to the top is never effortless. Rather it requires tactful strategies. The world cannot be conquered in the modern era by warfare, but by economic progress and diplomatic relations. Only a seasoned and great statesman like Narendra Modi could turn even the most vicious adversaries in India’s favour. Today, almost all the countries of the world have improved business and political relations with India, which is certainly on an upward growth trajectory.

Further, Modi has given equal importance to internal as well as external strategy to help India develop in all sectors and consequently build India’s positive image before the world. Not all would be able to fathom his tactically sound moves to visit all parts of the world in the capacity of the first salesman of the nation and sign unprecedented agreements on innovative business ideas of immense mutual benefits.

The unprecedented standing ovation on the floor of US Congress for an Indian Prime Minister was a mark of the renewed respect and trust that India has garnered globally under the leadership of Modi. “Narendra Modi is the reflection of the dynamism and potential of India’s rise. He recognizes that a billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world,” said Barack Obama.

The World Salutes

Several world leaders have praised Modi profusely.

  • “Modi is the most popular man on planet.” –David Cameron
  • “Modi is a reputable political leader.” – Vladimir Putin
  • “India is the emerging democratic superpower in Asia under Modi.” – Tony Abbott
  • “Modi is the best leader with best policies since (India’s) independence.” – Rupert Murdoch

Making The World A Better Place

The greatest of all ways of conduct is being human or rather acting human and reaching out to those who need us the most. On one hand the corporate world is doing its bit in giving back to the society through its wide ambit of CSR initiatives and on the other is the realm of philanthropic organizations who have taken up varied ways of helping those in need.

By Richa Sang

Benevolence – The Basic Premise of Humanity

Benevolence is an intrinsic aspect of the human nature. The term ‘Benevolence’ has myriad denotations like warmth, friendliness, compassion, ordinary decency, fair play, kindness, altruism, generosity, and love. It simply means having good intentions towards living beings. A benevolent heart leans toward others; it is not neutral or indifferent and benevolence is the opposite of ill will, coldness, prejudice, cruelty, and aggression. It is a widely acknowledged fact that benevolence is extensively praised — from parents telling children to share their toys to saints preaching the Golden Rule — because it is the very premise of humanity. Benevolence curtails quarrels, builds trust, and is the bestodds strategy to get good treatment in return. Benevolence within and between nations promotes the rule of law, educates children, feeds the hungry, supports human rights, offers humanitarian aid, and works for peace and benevolence towards our planet tries to protect the endangered species and reduce global warming. The bottom-line is that benevolence is good for individuals, relationships, nations, and the world as a whole. The fact that benevolence is often enlightened self-interest makes it no less warm-hearted and virtuous. And at this time in history when individuals feel increasingly stressed and isolated, when relationships often stand on shaky ground, when international conflicts are fueled by dwindling resources and increasingly lethal weapons, and when humanity is dumping over 9 billion tons of carbon each year into the atmosphere (which is almost synonymous to throwing 5 billion cars a year up into the sky, most of which stay there) — benevolence is not just moral, it’s essential. Moreover, we cannot forget the fact that benevolence has buoyed us along as we all have been nurtured and protected by friends and family, humanity altogether, and the biosphere.

Read More

Singapore Citing Success Slogans

There are some economies in the world which rely more on speed and efficiency than others, on the other hand there is Singapore economy which is said to be a highly developed and successful freemarket.

A land of cultural appropriation, Singapore enjoys an astonishingly open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. It majorly depends on exports, particularly of consumer electronics, information technology products, medical and optical devices, pharmaceuticals, and on its vibrant transportation, business, and financial services sectors.

In today’s world, successful economies are fluid and do not follow a traditional path, and as a result of the liberalization Singapore has a very low rate of unemployment. Being a strategic location to some of the most profit earning organizations, it is the world’s easiest place to do business as quoted by the World Bank. The Singapore economy contracted 0.6% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but has continued to grow since 2010 on the strength of renewed exports. With a view to boost many underrated industries of the country; the government is attempting to restructure Singapore’s economy by weaning its dependence on foreign labor, addressing weak productivity, and increasing Singaporean wages.

The highest profit-earning segments which have attracted most investments in the past couple of years are pharmaceuticals and medical technology production, and with this Singapore continue to strengthen its position as Southeast Asia’s leading financial and high-tech hub. Singapore is also a member of the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations with the nine other ASEAN members plus Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand, Singapore formed, with the other ASEAN members, the ASEAN Economic Community. Some known growth engines who have contributed to adorn Singapore’s skyline on the world map are as follows:

Mr. Gunit Chadha

Financial Answer Machine
Co-chief executive officer Asia Pacific and member of the group executive committee of Deutsche Bank, Mr. Gunit Chadha is pacing high in his professional life. Mr. Chadha has 26 years of Retail, Corporate & Investment Banking experience from USA and India. In the years 2000-2003, he was the CEO of IDBI Bank, where he was voted “The Banker of the Year” by Business Standard.

Prior to IDBI Bank, Mr. Chadha was with Citicorp Securities Inc., New York and earlier Head-Investment Banking for Citigroup-India, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh. His hard work has earned him a lot of laurels amongst the locals of Singapore. Mr. Chadha has held senior positions in various industry forums – Board of Directors of Association of Merchant Bankers in India, Managing Committee of Indian Bankers Association, and member of RBI’s Technical Advisory Committees etc. Mr. Chadha enjoys sports and reading and is actively involved as a Board Director with several NGO’s focused on education.

Deutsche Bank’s supervisory board recently appointed Mr Chadha as a new member of the highly influential Group Executive Committee (GEC), which will be expanded from 12 to 18 members.


Ash Singh

Making Singapore Interact
Since the legendary digital media expert incepted his first start-up, which he set up when he was still in university, was acquired by a Singapore-based company in 2004, the accelerator has invested in six companies in the digital media space and is CEO of Interactive SG.

An avid basketball fan, he is a shareholder of the Singapore Slingers professional basketball team and in his free time promotes his favorite hobby, turbans, through The Turbanizer – a mobile app that he has developed.

Mr. Singh holds an experience in diverse fields like Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Business Model Innovation and General Management. He has also led organizations through turn-around, start-up and high growth situations. His success in the field was noted by Business Week in 2009 as one of “Asia’s Top Young Entrepreneurs” and reiterated by the Economic Times in 2012 for having “built a solid reputation as one of the most successful serial entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia”. Over the past 15 years, Ash has focused on creating and bringing to market, applications and services in the mobile, trans-media, digital and Internet spaces.


Sameer Jain

Synchronizing Smart Money
Sameer Jain currently serves as the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Everstone Capital. Prior to co-founding Everstone Capital in 2006, Sameer spent eleven years at Goldman Sachs where he was a Managing Director in the Investment Management Division where he was Head of Institutional Wealth Management and the Special Investments Group (International). He has also spent eight years managing public market portfolios for Goldman Sachs clients, investing globally across asset classes. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Mumbai, a BBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and an MBA from Cornell University.

Soon after completing his education in the US, he started working in UK, the US and India, he decided to move to Singapore in 2010. His business is largely India focused and Singapore provides the right combination of ease in setting up a business and a proper regulatory regime. It is also a tax-friendly regime and there’s no problem in attracting global talent.


Bhupendra Kumar Modi

Spicing up Singapore
The Chairman of Smart Global, Mr. Bhupendra Kumar Modi hailed from India to carve a niche in the spice world. Dr. Modi is ranked at 27th position in the overall rich list of Singapore’s billionaires. Eminent personalities like T Robert & Philip Ng and Kwek Leng Beng & family have been ranked on this list. Mr. Modi runs the business and the growth and business strategy of the company on future growth epicenters such as Singapore for Spice Global. Mr. Modi is looking at tapping the young global talent that Singapore is increasingly attracting. Bhupendra Kumar Modi, chairman of Smart Global, who hails from India and became a Singapore citizen in 2012, has been busy striking deals. His latest venture is to make electric vehicles in his native India with China’s BYD. Last October he sold a 51% stake in a Delhi hospital for $52 million to rival Max Healthcare, giving Max the option to buy the remaining shares for $45 million.

Recently Spice Global has made a strategic investment in Formation 8, a Silicon Valley based early-growth venture capital fund which is focused on investments in information technology and energy technology businesses. The Group has also been offering financial services through Wall Street Finance Limited, which has over 6,000 sub agents across the country.


Sunny Verghese

rising high
A name that is associated with the Kewalram Chanrai Group for more than three decades is familiar to many and also considered to be the leading man in business. Sunny Verghese, the Co‑Founder and Group CEO was appointed as one of the Board members in 1989.

Before joining the K.C. Group, he worked for Unilever in India. Sunny is currently the Chairman of the Human Capital Leadership Institute. He holds a postgraduate degree in Business Management from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad and has completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

Sunny is presently the Chairman of the Board of the Human Capital Leadership Institute (HCLI), Singapore. Sunny was appointed Director on the Board of International Enterprise Singapore in 2002, and served as its Chairman from 2008 to 2013. Sunny also served on the Board of Trustees of the National University of Singapore (NUS) from 2009 to 2013. He was also the first Chairman of CitySpring Infrastructure Management Pte Ltd, a Singapore Main Board listed Infrastructure Investment Trust from 2006 to 2010. Sunny also served on the Main Economic Review Committee (ERC) set up by the Singapore Government to develop a long term economic blueprint for Singapore in Dec 2001.


Mustaq Ahmad

Building Little India in Singapore
Mustaq Ahmad, the co-founder and managing director of Mustafa Centre, a popular 24-hour shopping centre in Little India frequented by many Singaporeans and tourists. The success of Mustafa Centre has earned Mustaq Ahmad accolades such as the Tourism Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2003. Business took off at Campbell Lane and within two years, the family was looking for new sites to expand their business. They were able to secure two locations, one at Campbell Lane, and the other at Serangoon Road.

The site at Campbell Lane was used to store their goods, while the site at Serangoon Road, which enjoyed heavier human traffic, functioned as its retail store. With the larger retail space, Mustaq decided to add electronic goods to its range of products to meet customers’ demands. Mustaq also made a pioneering decision to sell his products at fixed prices. This was an uncommon practice at that time. The move went well with customers who found the store’s products competitively priced, and that time could be saved by doing away with the bargaining process. Customer traffic continued to grow and the store soon extended to the rented space next door.


Robert Ng Chee Siong

one step ahead
At the age of 63, Robert Ng Chee Siong is an Executive Director since 1981 and Chairman of the Group since 1991, was called to the Bar in 1975. He has been actively engaged in property investment and development in Hong Kong during the last 39 years and is also a director of a number of subsidiaries and associated companies of the Company. Mr. Ng is the Chairman of Tsim Sha Tsui Properties Limited, the holding company, and the Chairman of Sino Hotels (Holdings) Limited. He is also a Director of The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong and a member of the 11th and 12th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Mr. Ng is the father of Mr. Daryl Ng Win Kong, an Executive Director of the Company, a son of the late substantial shareholder Mr. Ng Teng Fong and the brother of Mr. Philip Ng Chee Tat, the co-executor of the estate of the late Mr. Ng Teng Fong.

Brothers Robert and Philip Ng control Far East Organization, Singapore’s largest private property developer. Sluggish home market was offset by rising revenues reported by their Hong Kong arm, Sino Group, overseen by older sibling Robert and his son Daryl. Last year, the family donated $15 million to the National Gallery Singapore, a new visual arts institution that has named a roof garden exhibition space after their late father Ng Teng Fong.


Kwek Leng Beng

Writing history
A Managing Director of Hong Leong Finance Limited (“Hong Leong Finance” or the “Company”) since 1 March 1979, Mr Kwek was appointed Chairman of the Company since 28 November 1984 and was last re-appointed as a Director on 24 April 2014 pursuant to Section 153(6) of the Companies Act, Chapter 50 (“Section 153(6)”). Mr Kwek is also chairman of the Executive Committee (“Exco”) and sits on the Risk Management Committee (“RMC”) and Nominating Committee (“NC”).

He is the Executive Chairman of Hong Leong Investment Holdings Pte. Ltd. (“HLIH”), the immediate and ultimate holding company of Hong Leong Finance, and City Developments Limited (“CDL”), and non-executive Chairman of Hong Leong Asia Ltd. (“HLA”) and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels plc (“M&C”). He is also Chairman and Managing Director of City e-Solutions Limited (“CES”).

Mr Kwek holds a law degree, LL.B. (London) and is also a fellow of The Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. He has extensive experience in the finance business, having grown from day one with the original Hong Leong Finance Limited which has since merged its finance business with the Company. He also has vast experience in the real estate business, the hotel industry as well as the trading and manufacturing business.


Goh Cheng Liang

Living life king size
The founder of Nippon Paint South-East Asia Group (NIPSEA), Mr Goh Cheng Liang is Singapore’s richest man with a US$8.2 billion (S$10.8 billion) fortune, according to a Bloomberg report.

Mr Goh’s wealth puts him ahead of Mr Wee Cho Yaw, the largest shareholder of United Overseas Bank with a US$6.9 billion fortune, who was the richest individual Singaporean on Forbes 2014 list. Madam Tan Kim Choo, the widow of late property tycoon Ng Teng Fong, is next with a US$4.9 billion fortune. Her sons Philip and Robert Ng have fortunes of US$4.6 billion and US$4.5 billion, respectively, Bloomberg said.

Mr Goh, 87, and Osaka-based Nippon Paint Holdings jointly own Nipsea, with the billionaire recently boosting his stake in Nippon Paint to 39 per cent, making him the largest shareholder in Nipsea, Bloomberg reported. His stake in the joint venture is held through his private investment company, Wuthelam Holdings.

The Kaleidoscopic Gateway

The majestic region of Rajasthan fascinates every globe trotter who wishes to dive into the ocean of an ancient legacy embellished with magnificence, splendor and elegance. The larger than life picture of this flamboyant region can bewitch anyone with its picturesque deserts adorned by golden pyramids of sand and birds chasing the winds of the clear blue sky and singing the glory of the past

Gazing out of the window and witnessing the grandeur of the “Land of Kings”- Rajasthan; The exciting sound of the train’s engine matches up with the heart beats when one heads towards this flamboyant realm of India to discover the immemorial heritage of Rajputana. The majestic forts, colorful bazaars, harmonically-rich music, glistening sand and the glorious legacy of kings and queens cast a mesmerizing spell on its visitors and leave them awestruck. Every place and every town has a unique culture which speaks through their attires, music festivals and cuisines.

As a part of the Golden triangle that is an ultimate pilgrimage for travelers, Rajasthan gets a privilege of welcoming every third foreign tourist who comes to witness the wonders of India.

Ancient home of the valorous Rajputs, this largest state of Indian republic marks its empire over 342,239 sq kilometres area. Its rainbow culture is the footprints left by its age-old diverse kingdomes and their rich cultures. Adorned with luxury hotels and resorts, this Pradesh has some of the world’s most charming places for the visitors. Among those paradors, The Oberoi Rajvilas, The Leela Palace, Umaid Bhawan Palace, Suryagarh, The Lalit etc offer benchmarking hospitality and comfort to their guests which enhance the travel experience

Threshold of Grandiosity

On entering the royal gateway of Rajasthan itinerary, one gets the opportunity to witness the splendor of its capital city Jaipur. Its vibrant setting makes it look like a crown of Rajasthan. In this “Pink City”, one can still feel the gaze from the colourful veils glancing from the little crafted windows of the Hawa mahal. And the grand Amber fort stands tall with its majestic structure looking over the city since centuries.

With its marvelous palaces and monuments, Udaipur, famous for its history, culture and scenic beauty is considered to be the ‘Venice of the East’. The Reflecting sunsets in the serene water of its lakes create a blissful aura that spreads tranquility in the soul and opens up the traveller’s senses.

Moving ahead with your caravan through the lanes of the royal past, if you find yourself amidst a sea of blue rooftops then get introduced to the azure Jodhpur. Set on a rocky outcrop, this “Rhapsody in blue” has little beautiful homes and structures which look like a blue canvas reflecting the serenity of the skies above. Its Mehrangarh Fort, Umaid Bhavan Palace, Kaylana Lake and various other monuments and temples not only awestruck the beholder with their glittering artistry but also sing the valorous tales of the past.

The Baoris of Bundi, scenic hamlets of Barmer, the Spiritual Shrines of Ajmer, the river safari of Chambal and the refreshing townscape of Mount Abu, the grandeur of Thar Desert in Jaisalmer- these are some of the maestros of the fascinating Rajasthan that take the visitors on a timetravelling journey.

Windows of Scintillating Bazaars

As the evening star begins to glow in the clear blue sky, the bazaars of Rajasthan start blooming with their exquisite traditional collections. After visiting the grand forts, soothing lakes and spiritual temples of the Royal Rajasthan, one is sure to get amazed amidst the magnetism of these “traditional corners”

The famous haats such as Sadar Bazar, Kapraa Bazaar, Babu market, Bhattiyani Chohtta with their alluring wooden furniture, block print textiles, zari embroidered saris, captivating mojaris and jutis have the gravity to turn shopping into everyone’s hobby. Adorning jewellery from Jaipur, silver artifacts and paintings of Udaipur, vibrant embroideries of Barmer, Doria saris of Kota, Jodhpur’s attires- every city has a rich souk that caters the cultural vibrancy in their strikingly gorgeous articles.

Rajasthan’s grand palette offers an ultimate feast. Be it Dal Baati and Churma, Missi Roti or the piquant curries, the epicurean cuisine leaves a person speechless. A perfect blend of Mewari, Marwari, Shekhawati, and Bikaneri cuisines, Rajasthan carves a special place in one’s appetite.

Rhythms of the Desert

Under the starry blanket of sky, Rajasthan’s rhythms sing a lullaby through their songs and traditional folk dances. Weaved for every emotion, moment or situation, these songs visualize the fables of wars, music of eternal love and the happiness and sorrows of the natives. They are the soul of the famous puppet shows. These are the communicatory strings that attach the contemporary Rajasthan with the glorious Rajputana.

From the camel fair of pushkar to the literary fair of Jaipur, Rajasthan has it all. This majestic land sees a number of fairs and festivals that brighten up the spirits of the people. Every new month brings a plethora of celebrations with itself. Beginning the year with the colorful kite festival in January, the region beats the drum with festivals such as Desert Festival, Teej, Abhaneri, etc., and ends with Kolayat Fair in Kartik Poornima.

The saffron “savera” reminisces the lovable itinerary of the previous day and brings forth a new dawn ready to inscribe a new page in the diary of a wander-lust traveller mesmerizing him with its colorful nature shrouded in the blue cities, golden structures, pink forts, yellow sands and green lushes painting the geography of Rajasthan and turning it into a rainbow.

A Murky Affair

There are stunning courtyards for cloudy evenings, cosy alcoves with colonial-style furniture to snooze in while you smoke out the Shisha at a vibrant lounge. A picked up trend in the young blood, Shisha is most of the time accompanied with colourful ambience and lively music

The newest trend to hit the urban culture is with the advent of Shisha lounges. One has an option of enjoying traditional punches of fruits like apple, kiwi strawberry to refreshing your taste buds with mint and pan from the evergreen menu. If that doesn’t cut it, one can always count on the luxurious Blue Mix or Silver Fox for a satisfying slurp.

A treasure trove of vibrant colours and good music is what My Kind Of Shisha opens its door for. While you’re there, pick from their wide menu of sandwiches and snacks a perfect combination with your kind of Shisha.

The Relaxing Escape

Today smoking Shisha has become more than a social pastime, it has now grown to be an activity used to bond and cement friendships over. There are several deals and romantic proposals have been struck up over a Shisha pipe, and for some there is no better way to kick back than in a cloud of flavoured smoke.

Started as one of its kind, this fresh business idea has picked up the zeal of the youthful minds. The selection of Shisha is more of a personalised choice than depending upon the mood you are sitting in the lounge with. As the name suggests, My Kind of Shisha , started by Shitij Malhotra, Sameer Mago, Siddhanth Malhotra and Dishant Bandulla has a lot many customised flavours to offers from.

The gen next holds Shisha very close to their heart and as they say the evenings spent with the gangs are utmost important to unwind ourselves. With siting decked out in natural home ware from funky interior designers, MYKOS is supplying their stock of elegant Shisha to majors like Junkyard Cafe, Vault, The Town Hall cafe, Farzi Cafe, My bar headquarters and many others in the capital city of the country.

One finds the elaborate MYKOS Shisha quenching the thirst of many at every place that has all the hallmarks of a zeitgeist hipster hangout, so it might not come as a shock to learn that the people behind MYKOS is an enthusiastic quadruple of vivacious minds. They have 40+ cafes where they are serving Shisha’s on contractual basis with a pan India presence.

Redefining flavoured mist

The shutters of MYKOS define it as leaders in Shisha Blends. Through extensive research and consistently hard effort, the team has derived specially flavoured blends and they also hold the pride of these being an industry exclusive to them. Since then the Shisha industry has built itself with a contemporary energy, amidst the sprouting surf shops, edgy cocktail bars and buzzy restaurants. With a wide variety of 70 flavours and mixtures, MYKOS is able to provide an exclusive experience to their clients.

The outlook of the company remains to work with a motive of providing maximum satisfaction to our customers and we totally realize that it’s only possible by offering the best quality products and the best services offered by the professionals handling them. With the elitism at MYKOS, their Shisha is just not a regular one rather they have done good amount of research and have only procured the best quality Shishas and the finest quality of flavours along to make your parties/events a great success with memories to share forever.

With a blend of perfect taste and flavour, MYKOS adds to the taste of the classic dishes served on the elaborate tables of your favourite cafe.

Beautiful Blissful Bihar

Text- Sometimes all it takes is the written word to lift your soul from the humdrum of everyday life. These are the wordsmiths that can take you by the hand and induce the most austere sense of wanderlust, taking you to the edge of the world – and back, evoking the same spell of travelling with the land of sophisticated and creative civilization- BIHAR.

In recent times, many of us have witnessed Bihar being metamorphosing into an escape where guests lay into lazy rhythm of the nature. If anyone would have heard about Bihar some decades back for the first time, what they would have learnt must be about the state giving some of the most diligent IAS officers to the country.

CONNECTING WITH THE HEART OF BIHAR

Patna Sahib

Tranquility is easily found in the French Quarter, but nowhere is it as compelling as in the meditative silence around the serene vicinity of Patna Sahib.

Patna city has the unique distinction of being honored by the holy presence of the Buddha, Guru Nanak and Guru Tegh Bahadur. Besides, it is also the birthplace of Sri Guru Gobind Singh.

Gurudwara Patna Sahib is one of the most important Takht. As a place that enjoyed the presence of three Sikh Gurus, Gurudwara Patna Sahib is worth visiting. This shrine is one of the most important centers for the Sikhs in eastern India. The various relics preserved here also make it very important.

The place will be bejeweled in all its glory on January 10th when hundreds of people will gather there to celebrate the 350th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

Nalanda University

Located in the town of Rajgir Nalanda is a postgraduate, research intensive, international university supported by the participating countries of the East Asia Summit. The University came into being on November 25, 2010 by a special Act of the Indian Parliament and has been designated as an “institution of national importance”.

Nalanda is inspired by the academic excellence and global vision of its historic predecessor and aspires to meet and set global standards of academic excellence and research and enable capacity building in all areas of higher learning. The University is being supported by all the Member States of the East Asia Summit and Intergovernmental Memorandums of Understanding to that effect have been signed by 17 countries.

Bihar is currently focusing on nurturing four diverse genres, namely:

Budhist

The legendary spiritual enlightenment site of the Buddha under the holy Bodhi tree has become the magnetic point for human congregation ever since. The magnificent Mahabodhi temple that had been declared as a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO is a great source of peace.

Hindu

This place is considered holy among the Hindus, the Buddhists and the Jains. It is surrounded by small rocky hills (Mangla- Gauri, Shringa-Sthan, Ram-Shila and Brahmayoni) by three sides and the river flowing on the fourth (eastern) side.

Jain

The Cradle of luminous Jain Spiritual souls lies in Bihar. Bihar is the sacred destination as the birthplace of the 12th Tirthankar “Vasupujya” and 24th Tirthankar Mahavira. Their non-violent ascetic path became very popular and become one of the prominent religions of India.

Sufi

Jehanabad is mentioned in the ‘Ain-i- Akbari’, written by Mughal emperor Akbar’s court historian and poet Abul Fazl. Jahanara Aurangzeb’s sister supervised the Mandi herself and spent a lot of time at this place. Later, the area became known as Jehanabad.

BLURRED LINES OF ART

Few could have predicted the rise of Bihar as an art destination. The city always had political diversities, demographical parameters, finance community- but as a destination for art and culture? Yet, today, art lovers around the world speak of Bihar in the same way they speak of Berlin and Sao Paulo.

Art fairs emphasizing local talent may evoke images of tents filled with bad seascape paintings. But Bihar’s stone pottery and madhubani paintings eviscerates any piece of art from the nook and corners of the world.

Art and Bihar go hand in hand, the rich and prosperous history of Bihar has also promoted the music, dance, paintings and crafts throughout generations. The various folk cultures form a unique style of performance and genre which originates or have been imbibed within the regional pattern. The spiritual music of the Bhajaniayas and Kirtaniyas are quite popular during religious events of the Hindus. The classical music was also nurtured in the region with the regular exchange of artists and performers from neighboring areas of Lucknow, Benaras and Delhi.

FESTIVITIES BEGIN HERE

The beauty of the place unfolds with the larger than life picture painted with the onset of its festivals. The traditional festivals not only mark revelers but also keep alive the deeper meanings of bonding with nature which are indeed thought provoking.

With a view to develop a healthy socio-economic scenario; the Bihar Government promotes the festival spree as one of the most critical tools. It creates financial opportunities as well as rendering harmony in this multi communal society.

The major religious festivals of Bihar most of the time revolve around Nature as the deity to be worshipped. In the Chatt Puja the ‘Setting Sun’ is worshipped by all the devotees. Although Sun had been worshipped as a god by most of the civilizations the worship of the Setting Sun by the Biharis gives it a special unique feature. Celebrated twice a year in Chaitra and Kartik months of the Hindu calendar, the rituals to be performed near any water bodies make the rivers, lakes and the ponds of Bihar a colourful panorama. The Deo Sun temple is most revered amongst numerous Sun temples around rivers and tanks believed to be sacred and visited by scores of devotees. Through the passage of time, people from other religious beliefs also have started to participate in the festival giving it a true secular flavor.

A SILENT MELODY

If one wants to find real inner calm, the peaceful Buddhist region of Bihar in eastern India will definitely rebalance him/her better than any spa retreat. Lee Marshall checks into some homestays. Any elaboration of the state Bihar is incomplete without the mentioning one of its best attractions called Bodh Gaya.

It is a city in Gaya district in the Indian state of Bihar. It is famous for being the place of Buddha’s attainment of Enlightenment.

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha-to-be, had been dwelling on the banks of the Nairanjana River with five ascetic followers for six years practicing austerities. Realising that austerities could not lead to realisation he abandoned them. His five ascetic companions disgusted at his seeming failure, deserted him and left for Sarnath.
He then moved towards the village of Senani where he was offered rice milk by a Brahmin girl, Sujata. Accepting from a grass-cutter a gift of kusa grass for a mat, the Bodhisattva took a seat under a pipal tree facing east. Here he resolved not to rise again until enlightenment was attained.

For Buddhists, Bodh Gaya is the most important of the main four pilgrimage sites related to the life of Gautama Buddha, the other three being Kushinagar, Lumbini, and Sarnath. In 2002, Mahabodhi Temple, located in Bodh Gaya, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

THE POSH SPICE

Sometimes on late afternoons, when the sunshine is mellow and warm, one ambles through the narrow, snoozing lanes where trees meet overhead where commercial establishments hum beside crumbling Bihar houses, held fast by sturdy old pillars and verandas built for weary passers-by in a more trusting age.

And then it happens. That familiar twinge of the surreal as one acknowledges that it is possible to leave behind one world and step into a starkly different one by the mere act of crossing a canal.

While the broad, sun-dappled boulevards greet the people sitting on the roof top of a serene restaurant and relishing the most authentic Khajuria ever, on the other side lined with mustard, apricot and tangerine walls with bursts of bougainvillea cascading over them; there is often a bicyclist pedaling by.

Catching glimpse of the clear blue sky and having steaming hot Litti Chokha is one feeling that is hard to be replaced by anything in the world. Beyond the stretches of the holy Ganga water, cordoned off by craggy rocks, which the river sometimes whispers to and sometimes whips, its waves crashing all over them.

Reign of the Tiger

It is not by chance that India is the fastest growing economy in the world. If Congressmen in US chose to give Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi a standing ovation, it was because India has emerged as a global leader, which has been possible through several development initiatives.

For the financial year 2015–16, the Indian economy has grown by 7.6 per cent, and in the last quarter of the fiscal, the growth rate has been 7.9 per cent. Inflation has also been contained around five per cent and forex reserves are looking good.

The global demand for electronic hardware is expected to increase rapidly to USD 400 billion by 2020; thus, India has the potential to become an electronic manufacturing hub. Consequently, as a strategic plan, the Indian government has set a goal to achieve net zero imports of electronics by 2020 by creating a level playing field and providing an enabling environment.

The recently held “Make in India Week” at the MMRDA Grounds at the Bandra–Kurla Complex in Mumbai from 13 February 2016, was attended by 2,500 international and 8,000 domestic companies, which promised over Rs. 15.2 lakh crore (USD 230 billion) worth of investment commitments.
India is also making reforms in various industries even if it requires changes in the policy. The various transformations include creation of job opportunities, a digital infrastructure, governance & services on demand and digital empowerment of citizens.

The government is also planning to create 28,000 seats of BPOs in various States and set up at least one Common Service Centre in each of the Gram Panchayats in each state. 11 technology initiatives were announced in the 2016 Union Budget of India. These include the use of data analytics to nab tax evaders. Digital Literacy mission will cover six crore rural households. It is planned to connect 550 farmer markets in the country through the use of technology.

INDIA–AFRICA FORUM SUMMITS

India has strengthened its African ties recently. The India–Africa Forum Summits – three since 2008 and last in 2015 – have helped in creating transformative relationships between India and Africa through strategic cooperation and plans to transform shared aspirations into reality.

India’s development assistance to Africa is next only to the United Nations, Japan and China, and since 2008 around USD 17.4 billion have been pledged by India for augmenting Africa’s development.

India has also created a grant assistance fund of 600 million US dollars to Africa including an India–Africa Development Fund of 100 million and an India–Africa Health Fund of 10 million US dollars.

TRANSFORMING THE DOMESTIC STRUCTURE

The various initiatives that have not only transformed the domestic economic structure of India, but have also catapulted it to the top spot in the world economy, include the following:

Make in India: It encourages domestic and multi-national companies to manufacture their products in India. It targets to make India the top destination globally for foreign direct investment, surpassing even the USA and China. India received USD 63 billion as FDI in 2015.

Make in India’s main objective is to focus on job creation and skill enhancement in 25 sectors of the economy. In addition, it would also increase the quality of products being made in India simultaneously minimising the impact on the environment. The initiative is expected to attract capital and technological investment in India.

Skilling India: The aim of this ambitious project is to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022. It includes various sub-initiatives of the government such as “National Skill Development Mission”, “National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship”, “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)” and the “Skill Loan scheme”.
Digital India: It makes available government services to citizens electronically by improving online infrastructure and by increasing Internet connectivity or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technology. It was launched on 2 July 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The initiative includes plans to connect rural areas with high-speed Internet networks. Digital India comprises three core components: creation of digital infrastructure, delivering services digitally and digital literacy.

Startup India: The action plan for Startup India contains several positive initiatives for Indian startups mainly easing up various regulatory, legal, financial and other challenges faced by them. Startup India targets to build a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and startups in the country that will drive sustainable economic growth and generate large-scale employment opportunities. The startup movement is spreading from digital/technology sector agriculture, manufacturing, social sector, healthcare, education, etc., and from existing tier-1 cities to tier-2 and tier-3 cities including semi-urban and rural areas.

MEETING CHALLENGES HEAD ON

Challenges have to be met squarely to create a balanced growth within various industries and sectors. Industry-wise, the challenge lies for small companies that are constrained in their ability to provide a differentiated customer experience and establish a structured approach toward financial controls and risk assessments.

India’s difficult business environment needs to be eased, the tedious processes need to be relaxed and compliance requirements for doing business must be minimized or eliminated.
In addition, the competitiveness needs to be increased, domestically and globally. In the global scenario, India must reach a position where it can face global companies confidently.

Despite the challenges, the outlook for India’s growth for the next decade is bright, mainly because of the favourable demographic dividend and increased economic prosperity.
The announcement of the INR 100-billion fund for risk capital investment in start-ups in the Union Budget and the launch of Mudra Bank in April 2015 with a corpus of INR 200 million should also help potential firms.

Lions on the move

Africa is a land of opportunities. It’s quite different from a general image of death and despair or Afro-pessimism portrayed by the media. It’s a large continent, comprising several countries, and mostly the region is growing. There is a need to understand the current growth and developments in the region to nullify the historically governed negative stereotyped perceptions of the continent.

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY

As per the World Bank Report 2016, “Africa is among the fastest growing regions in the world.” The global trends and region-specific risks keep fluctuating. A positive observation by the World Bank includes, “The incidence of extreme poverty has fallen – from 57% in 1990 to 43% in 2012.” It further observes, “Addressing the sources of vulnerability and building resilience is critical to maintain solid growth rates and sustain the progress made so far in reducing poverty and achieving the development goals. To continue to make progress on its development goals and achieve structural transformation, Africa must capitalize on the significant growth opportunities.”

The IMF has reported that overall, the African continent achieved average real annual GDP growth of 5.4% between 2000 and 2010, adding $78 billion annually to GDP (in 2015 prices). Though growth slowed to 3.3%, or $69 billion, a year between 2010 and 2015, Africa still holds the potential to write another growth success story.
There have been challenging conditions in some parts of the continent,nevertheless, the rest of Africa has been able to maintain a state of optimism growing with stable rates of GDP and productivity growth.

WHERE THE FUTURE LIES

There are three positive trends that are going to keep the lions on the move: Firstly, the continent has a young population with a growing labour force – a highly valuable asset in an ageing world. Secondly, Africa is still in the phase of urbanization, and the immense benefits of urbanization are yet to be harnessed. This urban expansion will definitely contribute to rapid growth in consumption by households and businesses, which is a good sign for industries. Thirdly, the rapid technological advancement that is taking place in African economies is going to create uncountable avenues leading to growth and reducing the cost of physical infrastructure in important areas of economic life.
Another reason to feel buoyant is the fact that the infrastructure investment is also rising continuously as spending on infrastructure has doubled over the past decade, and now stands at 3.5% of GDP.

WHERE DOES THE POTENTIAL LIE

The word here is “potential”. The state of growth in the economy may fluctuate but companies and investors need to identify the sectors and areas where the potential lies. The data shows that a specific strategic approach is going to be more fruitful, i.e. growth and stability of individual countries should be measured and accordingly investment decisions must be taken.

THE ROAD AHEAD

The policy-makers – both government and businesses – need to work together to cash in on the potentials and the positives as soon as possible. The need to accelerate economic reforms, to strengthen the infrastructure and promote growth, is high. As a priority, exports and national revenue sources need to be diversified, because dependence on resources alone leads to volatility in the economy as resource prices may change dramatically – as has been the past experience. This can be done through better tax and customs collections, increasing savings and finding better uses of domestic resources, so dependence on external factors can be minimized.

Further, pension provisions need to be increased, banking and financial services need to be made more accessible, and capital markets need to attract more finances. Other measures would include better urbanization plans to unlock the full growth opportunity and to make African cities competitive. A stronger and developed power supply and electricity infrastructure would help the business environment immensely. Improvement in the educational systems to develop skills for the present and future challenges, regional integration, and improvement in Africa’s physical & digital infrastructure would make a great impact too.

A Tale of 7 Emirates

UNCOVER ENDLESS INSPIRATION

High up in the glistening perpendicular disc that houses Aldar properties’ headquarters on one edge of Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island resides harmony. UAE is a place so serene that it compels people from all across the world to witness equanimity in both business and recreation.

Dating back in the year of 1968 when British announced their intention to withdraw from the Arabian Gulf, H. H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the then Ruler of the emirate of Abu Dhabi promptly acted to form strong bond with the emirates. With H. H. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the then Ruler of the emirate of Dubai, Sheikh Zayed called for a federation that would include not only the seven emirates that made up the Trucial States, but also Qatar and Bahrain. The UAE was formally established on 2 December 1971. Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain, Fujairah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah became the seven emirates to be a part of UAE.

A PLACE BEYOND EXPECTATIONS

Nothing worthwhile comes easy, UAE has also experienced its share of adversities to become one of the most sought after cultural destination of today’s’ time. It is rightly said to be home to a rich cultural heritage that has been strongly influenced by its unique environment.

UAE has a varied terrain; desert, oasis, mountains and coast, dictated the traditional lifestyles that evolved over the centuries. A resilience and resourcefulness necessary to survive in these harsh conditions was fostered by society’s age-old tribal structure: each family was traditionally bound by obligations of mutual assistance to its immediate relatives and to the tribe as a whole. Among the tribe an individual’s selfless hospitality was the source of his honor and pride.

People looking out for cultural expedition can delve into the country’s Bedouin past on starry desert nights before exploring the many forts that guarded the coastline long before the domination of the glitzy high rises. A handful of them are listed below:

BURJ KHALIFA

The Burj Khalifa is one of the United Arab Emirates most famous buildings and the soaring sky-high landmark of Dubai. Not only it is the world’s tallest building, but it also lays claim to the titles of tallest freestanding structure in the world, highest observation deck in the world and elevator with the longest travel distance in the world. A trip up to the observation deck with its panoramic views across Dubai is a sightseeing highlight for most tourists who visit Dubai.

SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is a mammoth modern mosque of incredible beauty. Harnessing contemporary design and ancient craftsmanship skills, the mosque is a harmonious blend of modern and old. It doesn’t fail to dazzle all who enter with its lavish use of gold, mosaic work and glass work, marble in gigantic proportions and blindingly white stone contrasting dramatically under the Emirati blue sky.

IN ORDER TO BUILD UP

There are many structural changes taking place in the UAE. Several federal ministries, authorities and institutions are being ceased or merged.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai announced these changes on 8 February 2016 through his official Twitter account as part of the three-day World Government Summit.

“We can’t lead the future with tools from the past, and we can’t accomplish quantum leaps in growth without conceptualizing a new way of governance. Change creates great opportunities and renews ideas and forces everyone to think in a different way. And we will implement all that is good for our people,” he tweeted.

Radiating The Prince Effect

To walk around the streets of Abu Dhabi or travel to witness its historical heritage is to meet the whole world compressed into one gloriously diverse and colorful city.

There is nowhere on earth quite like Abu Dhabi and no country on earth that hasn’t contributed to its multi-ethnic, multi-cultural kaleidoscope of humanity. The impeccable growth shown by the UAE region in recent times is an outcome of sheer hard work and articulate leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He has not only contributed in promoting and developing the country through immeasurable knowledge and innovation, but also comforting his countrymen to bestow their trust in him as a patron at difficult times.

From the glistening city of Dubai to the polished governance of Abu Dhabi, Nahyan has given an alluring skyline to the Middle East. The aroma of the place excites any investor to forget the region’s troubles and make money.

KEEPING CRISIS AT BAY

With the UAE leading the world ranking of being the chief nations across several key indicators, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi and the de-facto national leader disciplines 6 per cent of the world’s oil and its second-richest wealth fund.

With decorum and tranquility as the trademarks of the Nahyan governance, there are no qualms within the citizens about the ruler working in the favor of the countrymen.
As the country savors a famed position in the Arab world, one is likely to hear any one of several hundred languages and dialects as one is to hear Arabic. The UAE region has always been dynamic and proactive in communicating with other countries and building bridges of close cooperation and strategic partnerships to lead the way in political, economic, commercial, industrial, technological, scientific, educational, health and other sectors.

In the past couple of years Nahyan has not only worked for the development of the region, but has also enhanced protection of small investors by preventing any subsidiary from obtaining shares in the parent company. A prevailing rule states that in the case of acquisition of 50% or more of the company, the acquired party should receive approval from shareholders, a step considered by the report to be an enabling one that safeguards the interests of investors.

According to the Legatum Prosperity Index, 2014, UAE was ranked as the top Arab country for well-being and life satisfaction and fifth globally. The report further states that they feel absolutely safe in the country. Additionally, the UAE has maintained its presence on the ‘green list’, a classification of some 30 of the prosperous countries across the world. Notably, the UAE has been included on the list since the creation of the report.

BRIDGING BORDERS

Back in 1990, when the US troops were massing in the Arabian Gulf to fight Saddam Hussein, as a young prince serving the Air Force, he started strengthening the nation’s military to be one of the most impressive ones in the world.

Today, he has created a world-class country where people from different parts of the world visit for both business and leisure. The people one passes on the street reflect such a wide range of races that depict a perfect amalgamation of class and culture.

The prince has bequeathed the trust of his people in the rich cultural diversity that the liberals see women in the niqab and acknowledge that none of us can or should impose our societal norms on anybody else. Nahyan has successfully established a high and dignified position for the position of his women in the society.
With the self-proclaimed Islamic State taking root and Iran rising, Prince is funding his country to have more weapons and be prepared for unforeseen adversities. Nahyan has shown himself to be far more adept at reaching out to the UAE’s many faith communities than a mere ruler.

The efforts of the crown prince can be deeply understood by the fact that UAE is being ranked high on many global competitiveness indicators. According to a 2015 report by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, the country was ranked first among Arab countries in 10 out of a total of 15 global competitiveness reports, as well as first globally in the confidence indicator.

Third year in a row, the UAE was ranked first regionally in global competitiveness and 12th globally according to the 2015 annual World Competitiveness Yearbook. It was also ranked first regionally among the countries of the Mena region and 12th globally in World Economic Forum’s Global Enabling Trade Report 2014. In addition, the country was ranked first globally in three global competitiveness indicators in the tourism sector alone.

STRUCTURING THE SAND

As he raises his country’s standing, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan launched projects in the UAE stems from the belief that the key driver for shaping a strong and well-developed economy lies in the establishment of a modern infrastructure.

It is considered to be a primary role due to the pivotal role that infrastructure plays in the progress and growth of countries, and in stimulating economic activity.
Following are some of the key projects commenced by the prince:

EXPANSION PROJECT OF SHEIKH ZAYED ROAD:

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) in Dubai will begin the double-decking of Sheikh Zayed Road, building a 35-kilometre elevated section of highway running from Dubai Creek to Jebel Ali Port. This ambitious project, with an estimated cost of Dh10 billion, will facilitate increased traffic on Dubai’s main arterial road. The RTA has already received bids and implementation offers towards the execution of this project.

THE EXPANSION OF M-STATION:

With a total capacity of 2,060 MW of electricity and 140 million imperial gallons of water per day, the M-Station adopts the highest levels of availability, reliability, and efficiency, using the most advanced technologies in the world.

THE NEW 62-KILOMETRE ABU DHABI- DUBAI HIGHWAY:

Launched in 2013, the Abu Dhabi- Dubai Highway project was awarded to three companies. The project aims to alleviate traffic congestion on the current main road connecting Abu Dhabi to Dubai, and is expected to be completed by 2017.

EXPANSION OF DUBAI METRO:

The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) launched plans to develop and design the expansion of the Dubai Metro to include 70 stations by 2020, at a total cost of Dh5 billion. The expansion of the Green Line will include 11 new stations stretching over 20 kilometres across Dubai. The Red Line expansion plans include the addition of 3.5 kilometers between the Rashidiya Station to Mirdif City Centre Station as well as an 8 – 10 kilometre expansion from the Jebel Ali Station to the Dubai Expo 2020 venue.

HISYAN DUBAI PROJECT:

The Hisyan Dubai power plant project using coal technologies is the first of its kind in the region. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority awarded the contract for the first phase of the project to a global consulting firm in February 2015. The first phase of the project will have a production capacity of 1,200 MW and is expected to be operational by 2020

DUBAI CANAL PROJECT:

The Emirate of Dubai launched the third phase of the Dubai Canal project, which was started in 2013, and has been adopted by the RTA. A contract worth AED802 million for the third phase of the project was awarded to Belhasa Six Construct Co. The project comprises the construction of a water canal linking Dubai Creek with the Arabian Gulf.

VITAL STEPS IN SPACE PROGRAMMES AND PROJECTS:

There is no doubt that investment in space programmes and projects will enhance the status of the UAE and increase the nation’s stature in the regional and international landscape. It represents a fundamental shift in the process of scientific research in the UAE. The projects implemented by the country in this vital area will significantly contribute to the economy, creating new jobs for nationals of high potential.

KHALIFASAT:

Khalifasat, the third advanced satellite launched by the UAE into space, will provide high quality images that fulfill the needs of government organisations and private enterprises. While the initial manufacturing process began in South Korea, the satellite will be completely developed by Emirati workforce.

BUILDING A COUNTRY FULL OF LIFE

In an attempt to make UAE a more vivacious place to be, the command has prioritized its youth from the early days of the Federation and spares no effort in empowering them with access to scientific knowledge and advanced facilities.

Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the UAE government work strategically to provide best-in-class education to Emirati youth qualifying them for the job market. The government also encourages employment of Emiratis in the private sector due to its importance in social and economic development.

Emirati women have received unequivocal support and encouragement from His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, who in one of his interviews stated, “Nothing pleases me more than seeing Emirati women assuming their role in society and achieving their rightful position. Nothing should hinder the march of women’s progress. Like men, women have the right to assume the highest positions according to their abilities and qualifications.”